What are disrepair claims?
As housing disrepair claims continue to grow, social housing providers are coming under increasing pressure to try and tackle this pandemic. With compensation reaching up to £50,000 in certain cases it is becoming increasingly important for social housing associations to provide effective repairs to counteract these claims.
Some landlords have seen increases in the frequency of claims by up to 400%, with firms are being inundated with cases that they either cannot keep track of or do not have efficient enough records to fight. However, in an effort to tackle these expensive and time consuming claims, the government has introduced legislation to avoid unnecessary litigation. This legislation is making some progress in trying to reduce the overall cost of these claims but there is more that housing associations need to do to effectively reduce unwanted claims.
Similar to personal injury, housing disrepair has become a popular target for ‘claim- farming’ law firms to make quick claims that housing associations are not equip to properly tackle. The sudden increase in these claims means that when tenants have a genuine disrepair claim that social housing associations cannot respond as quickly to these. The aggressive and direct way that these newly formed law firms are attracting tenants is leading to this sharp increase in claims.
Why are Housing Associations struggling with Disrepair Claims?
Disrepair claims aren’t a new problem facing housing associations, but the sheer quantity of them makes it harder to effectively fight. Social housing associations generally have ineffective reporting systems or records, this lapse in record keeping is how disrepair claims are allowed to thrive and multiple.
The lack of paper trail that social housing providers have for dealing with repairs means that it leaves these associations open to claims and legal action. However, there is no quick fix to this problem, housing associations are going to have to change their procedures and practices towards repairs to be able to effectively fight these claims. With the vast increase in these claims, this is an investment that housing associations should find worthwhile, and ultimately, in the long run, cost effective.
What can be done?
Although there is not much that can be done to stop the ‘claim farming’ firms from pursuing tenants, there are measures that housing associations can take to try to reduce their susceptibility to these claims. These include:
- Understand what your tenants rights are and how to adhere to them
- Identify the risk areas within your organisation in relation to housing disrepairs
- Improve multi-department communications
- Increase advertising for repair channels
- Implement an effective reporting system within your organisation
If your organisation is struggling with disrepair claims you may benefit from attending our ‘Effectively Reducing Disrepair Claims in Housing’ course on Thursday 27th September in London. Attend this CPD Certified course led by Neil Brand, Partner at Bevan Brittan and experienced Housing Management Lawyer to develop a more effective repair framework in your association.
Get involved in the conversation!
Are you responsible for building disrepairs? Have you been affected by claim farming firms?
We’d love to hear from you. You can tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov.
Can’t make the date?
We can also run this course for you In-house, at your organisation or a venue of your choice, on a date to suit you.
Contact our In-house training team on [email protected] or call 0800 542 9414 to find out more.